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August 10, 2011 Printable Version Printable Version

Frequency and Magnitude of Stock Market Corrections
By Gregory Leonberger, FSA, EA, MAAA, Director of Research, Eric Przybylinski, CFA, CAIA, Senior Research Analyst

This week’s chart examines the frequency and magnitude of market corrections in the U.S. equity market, as measured by the S&P 500 Index. A market correction is defined as a decrease of 10% or more within one calendar year. Using data back to 1950, we found that every year featured at least one market drawdown, and over half of those years (35 of the 62 years, approximately 56%) were true market corrections. What is even more interesting is how large some of these corrections were, with 11 of those years seeing intra-year declines of over 20%. So while the steep drop over the last week has contributed to an 18% decline in the S&P 500 Index (through Monday’s close), perhaps investors can find some reassurance knowing that more severe market corrections have occurred in the past.

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